Vendor Emails going to Promotions section of email?

mark 1 year ago updated by Sancho Leath 1 year ago 9

We just had two vendors today tell us that our vendor request emails just started going to the 'promotions' section of their email making them more likely to be missed. I assume they use Gmail.

Has anyone else had this issue? Is there anything you can do to reduce this likelihood? FYI, we use the hosted XTRF.



Yes, we have had plenty of issues with that because XTRF uses one central SMTP address with different Reply-to addresses (e.g. of individual PMs). Depending on the email provider or mail server security settings, these mails will be recognized as spam, filtered out (e.g. into promotions), or rejected outright. Not much you can do from your side. We had to ask recipients with these issues to adjust their mail server settings or contact their email provider. Hope that helps.


That's what I figured. Thanks!

@XTRF, what's the thought of having a central SMTP address rather than being able to send emails through the individual email accounts? Wouldn't that be a less spam-prone process?

I will present two arguments to this topic, and let you discuss the best option then:


If you get an email from our Jira, it comes from noreply@xtrf.eu instead of name.surname@xtrf.eu

If you get an email from this User Echo, it comes from noreply@xtrf.userecho.com, not from particular topic poster

If you buy stuff on Ebay, you get an email from Ebay, not from particular salesperson

Online services in general send emails from "system address", not from user address.


Imagine you have 50 PMs and a company with strict password policy requiring users to change their passwords every month in the mail control panel. Each time they would need to change this password also in XTRF, and if they fail to do so, the mail queue grows and business operations are impeded.

Despite what Sancho said, sending emails with Reply-to: header is perfectly valid and will not result in spam classification.

In my opinion the correct way to use SMTP in online services such as XTRF is to have a dedicated account, like hello@company.com or projects@company.com, that is used to send system emails. Those are usually notification-like, they do not require an email response. But if this is expected, you may use the Reply-to: header. This way, in a standards-compliant mail client, if user clicks "reply", email is automatically addressed to a project manager.

As for the "Promotions"  tab itself, this is indeed a Gmail feature, and it is not a spam filter. Please see for example here:


You will see there that this Gmail behavior is actually correct. The exact rules are not known to us, and extra work would be necessary to change the emails in such way, that they resemble the Gmail-expected "The Primary tab is intended for person-to-person conversations..."

Jakubowski Marcin

XTRF Maintenance Manager


I'll play. :)

1) I see your point, but Ebay or other online services are massive companies with millions of users that don't have personal connections to the company - it's just a faceless service. We try hard to connect to our vendors and clients and we want to build personal connections with them. It would be nice if our vendors and clients felt that our xtrf communications were more personal and less institution. Currently, people tend to assume messages are coming from bots rather than from people. We'd love to shift that.

2) Interesting argument and I hadn't thought of that. However, here's my response. In the recent publication of the US Department of Commerce's digital identity guidelines (here), they updated their recommendations on password security. I can't summarize it all, but the pertinent part to this discussion is that they recommend creating password strategies that err more on improving usability. Specifically, they recommend long (more than 12 characters), unique & memorable passwords (using a pass phrase possibly), along with 2FA. However, they also recommend NOT changing emails unless they've been shown to have been compromised. This is what we're implementing at our company. So we don't ask people have change passwords unless there is a reason to.

I don't know about  how "promotions" works, but it can be a barrier. And we do have clients that can't get our xtrf emails at all because of their security settings and how it interacts with XTRF's implementation of email. To these clients we need workarounds. It's annoying and we'd love to change this.


Oops. I meant to say "the also recommend NOT changing PASSWORDS unless they've been shown..."


One more comment. For now at least. :)  At least the way we use XTRF, a majority of the emails that we send are more like communications with individuals, rather than "notifications". We edit most of the emails that go out to offer a personal touch. We are very aware of how mass emails affect our vendors and we don't want them to feel like a commodity. We also know that our PMs develop relationships with our clients that help us provide better service. We want to use XTRF to better communicate with our vendors and clients, not to send mass notifications to millions of people. :) 

But I'll take it as a compliment that you compared us to Ebay. :) Sadly, we're not that large or powerful yet. 

> Sadly, we're not that large or powerful yet. 

That doesn't change the principle - XTRF is "the system", it sends its own emails, partially on behalf of PMs, but partially just anonymous "notifications". This is due to fact that XTRF automates some tasks, that do not require the attention of PM anymore. We are moving in that direction step by step, this is what gives you process improvements.

It may not be the best tool for user-to-user communication, you old trusty Outlook is better for this task, but it does not handle project management too well. Some needs expressed here seems to indicate an attempt to translate direct pm<->customer communication into partially automated, central system.

While the rest of your arguments may be true, those are only examples - just like mine were. They only shows that this matter is not a simple one, not having single solution for all. We do have customers that struggle to change just one password in XTRF when changing their email password.

I am still recommending single, dedicated email explicitly for the system notifications (and other system-sent mails too).

All reasonable. I personally disagree, and if you'd ever put this to a vote, I'd vote to give an option of user connected email accounts. However, this also probably wouldn't fit in my top ten requests of improvements. Thanks for the perspective!

Anyone else? Am I the only one who would want this?

I stopped fighting this particular windmill two years ago and we got used to the central sending email, and so did our clients and vendors. As you already indicated, and I fully agree, our top-ten list of grievances with Smart Projects contains other topics.